Bay Area housing market cools, but it’s still nuts – SF Chronicle

By: Kathleen Pender 

The Bay Area real estate market went into 2018 with a bang and out with a whimper.

In the first half of the year, the median price rose almost 17 percent to an all-time high of $875,000 in June. In the second half, it fell 10.3 percent from that peak, ending at $785,000 in December.

The December price was down 3.7 percent from November but up 4.6 percent from December 2017, according to a report Thursday from research firm CoreLogic. It includes all new and existing homes and condos in the nine Bay Area counties.

An earlier report from the California Association of Realtors — which includes only existing, single-family homes entered into a multiple listing service — said the Bay Area median price fell to $850,000 in December, down 6.1 percent from November and down 3.6 percent from December 2017. That was the first year-over-year drop since March 2012.

Any way you look at it, the market downshifted in the last three months of 2018. As the stock market plunged and mortgage rates rose a half percent to almost 5 percent, buyers backed off, inventory grew, price cuts surged, and price appreciation slowed from the double to single digits on a year-over-year basis.

The number of homes sold in December fell to 5,341 across all nine counties, down 13.2 percent from November and 21.6 percent from December 2017. That was the lowest sales count for a December in 11 years, CoreLogic said.

Many sellers, perhaps unaccustomed to a less-than-ridiculous market, took their homes off the market or let their listings expire. A total of 2,493 listings in the nine Bay Area counties were withdrawn or expired in December, compared with only 1,154 in December 2017 and 1,487 in December 2016, according to analyst Patrick Carlisle of the Compass real estate firm.

“December was rock bottom,” said Chad Eng, a Redfin agent in Silicon Valley. “Buyers are hesitating, on the sidelines. Sellers are still focusing on comps from six months ago.”

Instead of selling in days like they were earlier in the year, homes took weeks or even months to sell. Homes that closed in December had been on the market 29 days before getting into contract. That was up from 23 median days on market in November and 17 in December a year ago, the Realtors association reported.

Eng said things picked up around the middle of January, as the stock market recovered and mortgage rates fell back into the 4.5 percent range. “I wonder if it’s a sign of what we will see in the spring,” or just a normal seasonal rebound, he said.

Santa Clara County was the hottest market in the Bay Area — and most of the country — for the first part of the year as prices rose in the teens and 20s year over year. In February, its median price topped $1 million for the first time, rising to $1,080,000, up 27.8 percent.

That was the month a two-bedroom, one-bathroom, 848-square-foot home on Plymouth Street in Sunnyvale sold for $2 million cash — making headlines as the height of Silicon Valley insanity.

That was and still is a record price-per-square-foot for Sunnyvale, said Doug Larson, a Coldwell Banker agent, who represented the seller. “Now with the softening market, I doubt that anybody will beat it, at least for a while,” he said.

After hitting $1.15 million in June, Santa Clara’s median price has fallen to $1 million in December, exactly where it was a year ago.

January is always a slow month for the real estate market, as sellers recover from the holidays and get their homes spruced up for the busy spring season.

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“Homes that sell in the winter are typically homes that have been sitting on the market awhile and have to take a price cut,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather.

Right now, “buyers are in a holding pattern,” she added. “They don’t know if this is as good as it’s going to get, if prices come down or more homes come on the market.”

She noted that a slower market is good for buyers because “they have more negotiating power” and for sellers who are moving up to a more expensive home because “overall they are going to be saving more money.”

Fairweather predicts that prices will end the year about where they are now. “I would be surprised if they go down,” she said.

Nancie Allen, president of Bay East Association of Realtors, said the government shutdown in January made it hard to tell where the market is headed. The next two weeks will be a better indicator. The market now “is all over the place,” she said. Some homes in Fremont have been sitting on the market for a while, while one had 15 offers.

Aaron Terrazas, a senior economist with Zillow, said his data show that home prices in the last quarter of 2018 rose at their slowest annual pace for any quarter since 2010.

He predicts that prices will appreciate 5 to 6 percent this year in the San Francisco metro area and 7 to 8 percent in the San Jose metro area, assuming interest rates stay low.

Kathleen Pender is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. Email: kpender@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @kathpender

I read this article at: SF Chronicle

Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654

Email |   Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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Market Update – Janurary 14, 2019

Hello Caton Team friends! 

Each Monday I post a quick video on Facebook and Instagram with a market update.  Today I am happy to report that this past weekend – open house turn out was the best since before the holidays.  Real, qualified, pre-approved buyers came out regardless of the rain.  This is live, from the trenches updates from myself and Susan in Newark and my fellow agents here on the San Francisco Peninsula.  By no means is this the start of Selling Season – but it is a start.

If you are thinking about buying this year, get approved TODAY!  Getting fully pre-approved can take some time due to the large volume of paperwork each bank is going to require.  It is best to be totally approved and underwritten by your lender of choice BEFORE you look at homes.  Once you are pre-approved the Caton Team starts the house hunt and focuses on homes since they themselves require time and consideration.  Buying Real Estate is a journey – not a race.  The more time you prepare – the better you can make solid decisions and once the market heats up – you can act as fast as needed.  In my experience, Buyers who take the time to understand their loan and their budget get the home they want often on the first try because they are prepared to do what it takes and already understand the impact of their actions.  It is nearly impossible to be a competitive and knowledgeable buyer if you haven’t taken the time to prepare. 

If you’re on the market to sell – hold tight!  Right now the market is in the buyers seat with a bit more inventory sitting due to the holidays.  However, interest rates are low now and that in itself is motivation to get in while rates are low.  So stay inline with the current market, adjust strategy as needed and make sure your home shows well. 

If you’re thinking of selling this year, contact your Realtor now to get a true market picture.  Each neighborhood is different.  Homes may be selling quicker in the mid peninsula but sitting across the bay or on the coast.  Be realistic with yourself and your Realtor with your expectations.  What fuels over bidding is high demand and low supply.  Right now we have low demand and normal supply.  California Economists believe the market is going to appreciate this year, even if the market is soft today.  The Caton Team knows come Spring – more buyers will be in the game and we expect a healthy market.

With all the talk that our market is in flux, people can get overwhelmed with the mixed messages and feel uncertain.  We believe that each client is unique and requires a high level of care and consideration.   Contact The Caton Team at anytime for a free, no strings attached consultation.  We love what we do and love helping people achieve their dreams and goals. 

How can The Caton Team help you?

Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call | Text at: 650-799-4333 

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat

The Caton Team Website

The Caton Team Advantage

How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina DRE# 01413526 / Susan DRE #01238225 / Team DRE# 70000218/ Office DRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

Forget Aspen! 10 Great U.S. Ski Towns Where Folks Can Actually Afford to Buy a Home

Winter, as you’ve surely heard, is coming—hard and fast. So why not ride it out in your very own home in the mountains, in a sweet place where the slopes are groomed, the air is clean, and après-ski bars are buzzing? While you’re at it, maybe chill for the summer too! Truth be told, you don’t have to be a second-generation reality TV star, tech titan, or trust-fund kid to live large in a great American ski town. And no, we’re not schussing you. You just need to know where to set your sights.

Hint: It’s not on Aspen, Jackson, Park City, or any of the other snowy playgrounds of the 1%, where median home prices rival or even exceed the most expensive neighborhoods of San Fransisco or New York.

But there are plenty of lower-key, way more inexpensive options around. In fact, just about half of America’s ski towns, as defined by realtor.com®, have a median home price under $300,000. So our data team set out to find the most affordable of the bunch, towns where you can keep the dream of owning a home near the slopes alive, and maybe even have some cash left over for a new snowmobile. Or heck, an SUV!

While you’d be forgoing some of the glam scenes, upper-end nightspots, and world-class powder of the best-known resort towns, these lower-priced mountain meccas are still undisputed winter and summer wonderlands. Some are old mining towns, or small remote cities that built resorts as a means to replace fading industries. They have fewer tourists, and miles of untrammeled nature.

To create our rankings, we started with a list of around 450 ski resorts, as compiled by onthesnow.com, a website that creates snow reports for the ski industry. We then looked at median list prices in the nearest towns or cities to those resorts to figure out which had the least expensive real estate. Only places with at least 50 homes for sale in October were included, and for geographic diversity, we included just one place per state.

So pull on that discount Uniqlo parka, grab a hot toddy or three, and let’s check out the best bargain ski towns in America.Most affordable ski towns

 

Read More:  Realtor.com – Ski Towns

Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the upmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat

The Caton Team Website

The Caton Team Advantage

How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina DRE# 01413526 / Susan DRE #01238225 / Team DRE# 70000218/ Office DRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified

What to consider when purchasing investment properties…

Many Real Estate investors, priced out of the Bay Area but savey enough to know that Real Estate is a solid, long term investment are migrating outside the Bay for oppotunities.  The moment local buyers start seeing the homes and prices just a few hours away from here – they start to get really excited about the prospect of owning Real Estate.

It’s one thing to buy a home you plan on living in.  It’s another thing to buy a home you plan on renting out – even if the end game is moving in down the line.

Here is a short list of things to consider when buying investment property:

  • How strong is the rental market in the area I am looking in?
  • What are rents going for?
  • What have they gone for?
  • What is the forecast of the rental market?
  • Will the cost of the rent cover the mortgage, insurance and upkeep?
  • What happens when I loose a tentant?
  • Do I have enough rainy day money to cover the loss of rent and tenant percurment?
  • How much does home maintenance cost for a rental property?
  • Will I be the landlord who fixes items – or will I want a property manager?
  • Will I manage the home myself?
  • Will I find a tenant on my own?
  • Will I draft my own contracts?
  • How much does a property manager cost?
  • What services do they provide?
  • What happens when something breaks?
  • Will you go fix it?
  • Can you afford to fix?  – By the way YOU have to fix it.
  • Do you want to be a landlord?

 

The list goes on.  Bottom line, sit down and talk with a Realtor you trust.  If you don’t know one – The Caton Team would love to interview for the job.  We can help you understand the local markets and refer you to local Realtors that can help you make an educated decision.  Apps and the net are great for information but nothing beats real world experiance.

Got Questions – The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the upmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat

The Caton Team Website

The Caton Team Advantage

How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook *Yelp Us * My Yelp * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Thanks for reading – I wrote this – Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina DRE# 01413526 / Susan DRE #01238225 / Team DRE# 70000218/ Office DRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

How to figure out the best time to buy a home, according to a mortgage analyst

Timing your home purchase correctly — like during the winter or before you get married — can save you money.

  • Buying a home is likely to be one of the biggest investments of your life.
  • For many, life events such as marriage or the birth of a child are often the catalyst to buying a home.
  • It’s important to buy a home when you’re able to afford one, though waiting until the winter to put down an offer could save you a bit.
  • Here’s how to know when it’s the best time to buy a home.

Buying your first home is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime.

With housing prices on the rise in many US markets, it can be difficult to find a home that fits your family’s needs without mortgage payments that will break your budget.

According to Holden Lewis, a mortgage analyst at Nerdwallet, timing your home purchase correctly — like during the winter or before you get married— can save you money.

Lewis has followed the mortgage market since 2001 — through the first housing boom, the 2008 crash and its aftermath, and the recovery. Here are his practical tips to help you figure out the right time to buy a home.

Buy when you’re ready

You’re ready to buy a home when you can afford one.

The right time to buy a house is when you have enough money saved up for a down payment and an income that allows you to comfortably afford the mortgage payment. According to Consumer Reports, many financial planners recommend limiting the amount you spend on housing to 25% of your monthly budget.

If you’re not sure whether you can afford a home in your area, Lewis suggests using an online calculator, such as this one from Nerdwallet.

Major life events can also be an impetus for making the leap into home ownership. “I think there’s a lot of personal triggers for homebuying,” Lewis said. “The most common one is adding children to your family.”

Lewis transitioned from being a renter to a homeowner shortly after his son was born. “It was really nice that his first steps were taken in a home of our own,” he said.

Don’t wait until you get married

You don’t have to hold off until marriage to buy a home.

According to Lewis, many people think they need to wait until they get married before buying a home. “I think being single is not a reason to hold off,” he said. “When you buy a home sooner, you’re building equity sooner.”

The Washington Post reported in that 18% of the home purchases made in 2017 were made by single women. That figure includes older women who are widowed or divorced, as well as younger women ready to invest in real estate and put down roots.

Buy in the winter

You may find cheaper listings in the winter.

In 2012-2017, the number of starter homes on the market reached its peak between October and December in 70 of the 100 largest US metros, according to a 2017 report by Trulia. This means that there are more options for those looking to buy their first homes in the fall.

But it may be worth waiting until winter to make an offer, as Trulia also reported a decline in the prices of starter homes between January and March 2017. Additionally, Lewis said that prices tend to be highest in June and July and take a tumble by January or February.

While the number of houses for sale goes down in the winter, the number of buyers declines even more, so you’ll face less competition for the homes that are on the market, Lewis said. And sellers with homes on the market in the winter may be more likely to negotiate, according to a US News report.

Lewis said that this trend holds true even in the places that snowbirds flock to in the winter months. “There’s even a difference in prices in places like Orlando and Phoenix,” he said. “That really surprised me.”

“Each city and even different neighborhoods might be different,” Lewis added. “The best thing to do is ask an experienced local real estate agent.”

Avoid waiting for mortgage rates to go up or down

Don’t let mortgage rates impact your timing of buying a home.

Lewis said mortgage rates have remained low for the past 15 years, despite predicting that they would rise.

“I’ve been following mortgage rates now for 17 years and I can’t tell you how many Januarys I’ve predicted, ‘This is the year when mortgage rates are going to rise substantially,’ and every year it hasn’t happened,” Lewis said.

Lewis recommends resisting the pressure to either rush or delay buying a home based on mortgage rate predictions. “You have at least a 50% chance of being wrong,” he said, so don’t let this affect your timing of when you want to buy a home.

Look for creative financing

There are home-buying programs that you may find helpful

You might have more options for home financing than you realize. Some states, such as Pennsylvania and California, offer homebuyers help with financing, including down payment assistance. Even if your state doesn’t offer any special programs, you might be eligible for an FHA loan, which may only require a down payment of 3.5%.

The VA offers home-buying programs to active-duty military, veterans, and some surviving spouses of servicemembers. “If you are a veteran or in the military, really look into VA loans,” Lewis said. “They are a great deal.”

There is also first-time homebuyers’ assistance at the local level. San Francisco has a special program to help local teachers, and New York City’s HomeFirst program provides up to $40,000 in down payment or closing cost assistance to homebuyers.

In expensive markets like these, assistance programs can make a big difference, Lewis said. Invest a bit of your time to research what support is available where you live.

SEE ALSO: The 10 smartest things I did before I bought my first house

I read this: Business Insider

Got Questions – The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the upmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat

The Caton Team Website

The Caton Team Advantage

How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook *Yelp Us * My Yelp * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina DRE# 01413526 / Susan DRE #01238225 / Team DRE# 70000218/ Office DRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.